COMMUNITY OPINION: I’m glad we are raising the pride flag at City Council

Aislinn Barnes, a San Benito High School Senior and Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) president, shares her speech that was given to the City Council on April 19.

This community opinion was contributed by Aislinn Barnes. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

The point of this article is for residents to have the chance to read a statement from an
LGBTQ+ member in Hollister. I made this statement at the City Council meeting on April 19.

I have decided to publish that statement here for everyone to read. I ask you to simply read
the statement I read to the City Council and maybe attempt to understand the sadness of the
LGBTQ+ members in Hollister after hearing, reading and seeing a lack of support toward our
community. Thank you:

“Hello City Council members and Hollister Residents, my name is Aislinn Barnes. I am
here today speaking as a community member of both Hollister, and the LGBTQ+ community. I
have been out and proud as a lesbian for the past four years, and I have lived in Hollister for my
whole life. And I have to be honest with all of you, many times in those past four years I did not
feel accepted in Hollister. I have felt like an outcast. But, the day I was lucky enough to attend
the hanging of the pride flag, that was one of the best days of my life. I cried a bit that day, to be
perfectly honest with all of you. It was the first time I had felt truly represented by my city and
honored by those who represent this community. But, upon hearing the news that this
monumental decision could be overturned broke my heart. Coming up with a statement has been
difficult, I do not want to put too much emotion into this. Because this is about so much more
than my feelings being hurt; it is about so much more than a flag.

I understand the concerns council, I truly do. Taking a stand is hard, because yes, you are
going to have people who do not agree with your stand. But I am telling you that this stand is
necessary. I am imploring you to listen that we are here, we see your actions, and we are affected
by it. Most importantly, I’m here to say that this fight is far from over regardless of what your
decision is today.

To add, 30 days is only so much. 1 month is all we are asking for. 1 month of your
outward and obvious acceptance. And the other 11 months, we will take care of the rest. All we
are asking is for a month, to see our flag proudly fly. And to be able to walk in front of a City
Council building, a City Council that should also represent us, and see that we are represented.
City Council, I will finish by saying this I am a member of two communities, and all I want is to
be loved by both of them. Please, re-raise the flag to let me and countless others know that you
stand with us, you love us, and you will always, always hear us.”

Aislinn Barnes